What does it mean to have a new identity?

It’s Monday Grace!

I know someone who has a secret Facebook name. Under that name, he can post controversial things, criticize others, and admit to thoughts and actions he would never admit in real life. He calls it his “alter-ego.”

My kids have mocked Batman by saying, “Hey, wanna know my secret identity?” Almost every super-hero has a secret identity. Two identities. Really?

No. If you choose your alter-ego, it is just an extension of who you are, just a revelation of that which you keep hidden. If you have a secret identity, it is still you. It’s just one you don’t want the people around you to know.

It is possible, of course, to have a false identity. Many people are not what they portray themselves to be. One of the most amazing things I encountered in my experience with legalism was how people would claim to be one thing while really being another. Some could look you right in the eyes and lie about their values and perspectives. A false identity was promoted and valued, while the real person hid thoughts and actions. The only thing real about the false identity was the real person’s desire to deceive.

No, that’s not the same as having two identities. It is not possible to have two identities. The truth is that any portrayal of yourself contrary to who you really are is either deception or confusion. You are who you are.

I am who I am. God said that to Moses. The first law of logic is the law of identity. Whatever the subject, it is what it is. It cannot be something else. God is who He is. He exists as Himself. That simply means that He is real.

And so are you. You are who you are. The term “identity” comes from a Latin root that means to repeat, to say or do the same thing again and again. My mom, when we played cribbage, used to say, “No matter how many times you count it, you won’t get more points.” It is what it is.

So, how can a person have a new identity? The Bible makes it clear that we have a new identity in Jesus. We are not what we used to be. We are not who we used to be.

Some people teach that believers have two natures, one good and one bad. Sometimes the good wins, and sometimes the bad wins, they say. There is nothing in Scripture to support that, and it doesn’t even make logical sense.

No, we are one identity. You are who you are. But, listen: you can forget who you are and fall back to what has become a false identity.

At the end, in the day of judgment, you will find that you are and have been only one person with only one nature. Because of Jesus, there is no sin defining you. You are inseparably connected to Jesus because His life flows in you. There is no other life in you, just His. Somehow, you are still you, but the life in you is His.

Yes, this is a mystery, but it is also an amazing blessing. It simply means that I am not what the world sees, with my compromises and failures. Even when I do things that are called sin, I remain inseparably defined by my relationship with Jesus. Nothing can change that.

What happened is described in Scripture.

6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
Romans 6:6-9

When we were united with Jesus, we went to the cross with Him and died with Him. Then we rose with Him to new life. We are, in fact, new creations—new identities.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Simple, right? Well, not really. In fact, it is an unfathomable mystery. But it is true.

And no matter how many times you look at yourself, you are still that new person in Jesus. You are who you are.

So, don’t let anyone tie you to your sinful past. That isn’t who you are. And don’t even let anyone tie you to the sinful acts you do today. That is just you forgetting who you really are.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “What does it mean to have a new identity?

  1. Thank you! I needed to read this! I spent three days last week in the presence of an abusive sociopathic narcissist, an ex of mine, who almost murdered me twice back in the late 1980s. Our son got married last week and for his sake, I endured the day long wedding rehearsal and dinner, the day long formal wedding and dinner, and a third day of festivities, in the presence of this former husband. He is now 79 years old and he is no less hateful and narcissistic than he was over forty years ago when I married him.

    At the end of everything, when I went to the airport and flew back home, I felt so beaten down. But no! I am a new creation in Christ! I am not the old Linda who used to be married to that abuser!

    • Batya Ahul

      Wow Linda😎You are amazing, you selflessly were there for your child. Never forget how wonderful you are and I’m sure your son knows this too.
      With our identity in Christ, others opinions of us just simply don’t matter do they? But we can still be hurt by it. Projection is such a powerful thing.
      It’s that under the surface rage that I find absolutely terrifying with an n. I think they know we see it? They also seem to get worse with age. I think that’s a topic Pastor Dave has covered before? I wonder if it’s that they have less energy to present the facade,
      or they just don’t care anymore…..
      My son’s scan showed his kidneys are okay, thank you so much for those who prayed😎.

      • Batya Ahul

        Again a cheeky prayer request-so difficult to ask for prayer. Perhaps it’s the anonymous aspect here and the fact that you are a community who truly understand that allows me to ask for prayer with regularity. Part of me feels like I’m taking advantage? I know that’s not normal and part of my scapegoat identity……The narcissist magnet has been at it again and I have been exposed to gaslighting and manipulation.
        Not through work this time but through horses, my God, my family and my horse have got me through the craziness that was 2020/21. There is a person who has been lying, manipulating, damaging peoples property and stealing at the stables where I keep him.
        We know it is her-fortunately other people have experienced her behaviour well, but she seems to be targeting me especially (I understand the psychology behind why this is but that doesn’t make it any easier).
        She caused some damage to my husband’s car at the weekend which was witnessed and the yard owner spoke to her yesterday.
        She predictably played the victim and denied it and then cornered me last night and started to call me crazy (gaslighting projection and crazy making).
        I really let rip and told her to stay away from my things, stay away from my children, stay away from my horse and stay away from me. I was really angry. Please pray protection against this woman. I am trying to pray for her and forgive her but Lord it is hard.

      • I am praying now, asking the Lord to keep a shield of protection around you, your husband, your children, and your horse. From what you have said here, I think you did the right thing in standing up to that woman.

        Yes, I understand the projection of narcissists calling you crazy. My parents did that to me, and the flying monkeys followed their lead. I have had several therapists and doctors tell me that there is nothing crazy about me, which made me feel better. But even so, the narcissist’s projections hurt! So I understand what you are going through and my heart goes out to you.

      • Praise God for answered prayers for your son!

        Thank you for your very kind words. Your understanding means a lot. ❤

  2. I needed to hear this today. As always, thank you for posting this!!

    • Batya Ahul

      Thanks for your prayers Linda😘, It’s really hard when we’ve grown up in a narcissistic family as I know I am often set up to unconsciously invite this behaviour. When I consciously set up boundaries then I get the hostility! I just have to remember that we have a loving merciful God and all of this will make sense one day.
      I hope even in the face of your ex-husband (which must’ve been terrifying for you), That you were still able to enjoy your child’s wedding.

      Thank you for the prayers for my son and thank you for the prayers for protection for me and my family.
      I have tried to be kind to this woman and so have others. She is in an eternal victim and cannot see how her behaviour is so destructive. It is just crazy how she cannot accept responsibility for her behaviour when it is clear she is lying, stealing, manipulating and damaging peoples property. She’s like a two-year-old stuck in a 50 something year-old woman’s body! She has Munchhausen symptoms, which myself and my fellow liveries (term in the UK for people who have their horses in a barn/stable) just won’t engage with (most of us are healthcare professionals). So I guess she has to get her supply somehow even using destructive techniques. If it wasn’t so upsetting/frightening, it would be fascinating!

  3. Batya Ahul

    Well, the person I discussed above is moving herself and her horse to a different stable at the end of next week. To people that know her this is a “rinse and repeat” exercise. She has been to almost every equine establishment in the area and always ends up leaving after causing a multitude of chaos.
    I can’t help but feel sorry for her, I can see the wounded child in her and that is my Achilles heel. The highly empathetic me wants to help her in some way, but I know she would use that to manipulate and cause me more harm.
    As pastor Dave repeatedly says, narcissistic behaviour is a choice and as an adult with mental capacity she is responsible for her manipulative and destructive behaviour.
    I give the situation over to Him for He is in charge of everyone and everything😎 I will stay out of her way until she goes and I will continue to pray for her.

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